Shares of the New York credit-card giant at last check were up slightly to $94.
A cardholder will receive a $5 credit when spending $10 or more at a U.S. small business, with the option to receive the credit as many as 10 times, Bloomberg reported.
The coronavirus pandemic has devastated businesses that were forced to shut down to comply with social distancing regulations. The U.S. leads the world in both the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus and deaths from the disorder.
The typical small business's revenue was half its year-earlier level at the end of March, when the lockdown orders were in effect for much of the country, Bloomberg said, citing data from JPMorgan Chase.
American Express said it had committed more than $200 million to the promotion, part of its largest-ever global campaign to “Shop Small.”
The company created the program after research found that to stay afloat, nearly two-thirds, 62%, of U.S. small businesses needed to see consumer spending return by year's end.
"We have the ability to drive that spend into local businesses - we feel this offer is truly going to do that,” Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Rutledge told Bloomberg in a phone interview.
Rutledge said American Express has been able to encourage consumers to spend at local shops in the past.
The firm’s Small Business Saturday event - a promotion held yearly on the Saturday after Thanksgiving - has helped drive $120 billion in spending to U.S. small businesses in the decade since its inception.
Among the projected beneficiaries of the American Express program are hard-hit independently owned restaurants.
The promotion corresponds to a new program from the dining-reservation app Resy, which American Express acquired in August 2019. Terms weren't disclosed.
Resy At Home, which debuted last week, offers food and products from restaurants on the app’s platform across the U.S.